Cornwall is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the UK for several good reasons.
If you’re someone who likes winters, you can add Cornish winter to the list of reasons to spend your holidays here. While some activities do become restricted, there is still plenty to look for in North Cornwall in winter.
As the year reaches its end, the streets of winter Cornwall become quite a sight to behold. The locales appear a little more reserved without the summer crowds with fewer people out and about the roads, but no less friendly! You’ll witness the inherent beauty that occupies the Cornish landscapes more clearly and find things to enjoy that you wouldn’t during other seasons.
So, grab your jackets and embark on a journey across the English county to partake in activities to make your vacation truly memorable.
6 Best Activities To Partake In The Cornish Winter
1. Explore The Beaches
The chilly winters do very little to dampen the inherent charm of Cornwall’s beaches- and there are plenty of them to find and explore. Gaze at the Atlantic Ocean from any of them, as each of these beaches has a unique quality. Though the breeze that brushes past you whilst on leisurely winter walks across a beach is chillier in winter, it’s an experience worth your while.
With beaches aplenty across the Cornish coast, it may not surprise you that Cornwall is one of the most popular surf destinations in the UK. Surfing is an excellent activity for thrill-seekers, providing an electrifying experience for those who enjoy a surf on waters raging or calm. Or, if you prefer cold water swimming, you can do so freely in the many coastlines of the county.
But if you’re one for relaxing on the coastline, you can find many bars and restaurants on or right next to the beaches. Grab yourself a brandy or a mug of hot chocolate and bask in the evening sun, perhaps even watch surfers glide across the raging waters!
A. Kynance Cove
Kynance Cove features turquoise-shaded water, while the sand is coloured a pearly white. The view from this Cornish beach stands as one of the most breathtaking experiences to be had on your holiday. A stunning vista awaits you at Kynance Cove, sitting squarely at the top of most people’s favourite vacationing spots.
Early morning or late night, the Cove presents itself as a desirable spot to relax in. And if you want a snack as you wander around the beach, a hillside cafe is close by for grub or a cup of tea. You can take part in (safe) storm watching on a particularly raging day, if you wish.
B. St. Ives
St. Ives is virtually synonymous with beaches, often known as the beach town of Cornwall. You’ll find plenty of views to take in, restaurants, shops and art galleries to explore and experience. There is something for everyone to enjoy at St. Ives.
It’s a horseshoe-shaped bay, bringing you gorgeous views to admire. The seawater close to St. Ives is clear as a crystal, and the beach sand white enough to be mistaken for snow.
You’ll find that the weather remains pleasant year round, and even the worst times can be summarised as being merely ‘peachy’. A day at St. Ives makes for a beautiful one, indeed.
2. Explore Cornish History
Did you know that Cornwall’s history dates back to the Palaeolithic era? Human occupation in Cornish areas remained sparse for hundreds of thousands of years until about 10,000 years ago, when continuous occupation finally began.
But how does this relate to your Cornish winter holiday?
This simply means that there is plenty to learn when you visit Cornwall in winter. The rich history of this English county has been well-documented, and you can find detailed records of several thousands of years’ worth of history. It also means that you can explore the past from the comfort of a heated museum, safe from the cold outside.
The abundance of several interesting facts about Cornwall and displays from other countries will keep you busy for hours on end. Wonder what went on in Cornwall during the Roman era, or has the post-medieval period caught your intrigue? You can find it all in the county’s museums, like:
A. Museum Of Witchcraft And Magic
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is one-of-a-kind, with the world’s largest collections of all things magic. It’s located in a quaint little village called Boscastle, and it remains one of the quirkiest destinations you could visit in the county.
Right at winter’s doorstep is Halloween, during which the Museum holds several magic-themed events and exhibitions. You’ll scarcely find a similar experience elsewhere, with All Hallow’s Eve bringing out the spooky in full force.
Don’t let the name fool you; while the Museum of Witchcraft And Magic does detail whimsical witchcraft, it also explores the unpleasant history associated with witches. The persecution of ‘witches’ in the UK remains one of the darkest points of its history, being intriguing and heart-wrenching simultaneously.
There is plenty to learn about even with the whimsy, so feel free to visit the Museum of Witchcraft And Magic at your leisure.
B. Royal Cornwall Museum
There is no place better than the Royal Cornwall Museum to learn all about Cornish history. You’ll find expansive details about the county’s past with rulers and crises, along with interesting tidbits about its culture.
Cornwall once relied heavily on engineering and tin mining to sustain its economy. Naturally, this resulted in an extensive record of the same, displaying how the county functioned for a long while before tourists flocked to it.
The Royal Cornwall Museum houses the artistic aspect of Cornwall as well, with a massive collection of rare books and manuscripts to read. Moreover, you can find exhibits from different countries, such as a genuine Egyptian mummy in the Egyptian exhibition.
Take a few hours out of your day and dedicate them to increasing your reserves of knowledge. After all, it’s always a good day to learn something new.
3. Cornwall’s Gardens
You may think that Cornish winters lead to plants being dormant until spring arrives, but that is not the case. Despite the short daytime hours and long nights of the winter, there are plenty of wonderful plants to see in the gardens year round.
Some of Cornwall’s tropical gardens go through a period of flowering during winter, owing to the county’s sub-tropical climate. So, in contrast to other places in the UK where plants lose their beauty during the chill, Cornish gardens may appear even more beautiful.
A layer of white frost gives trees the appearance of a winter wonderland while displaying plenty of life to see. You get to see how nature sustains itself even during the harshest of conditions. Rest assured that you’re bound to be amazed as you stride through the cobblestone paths of:
A. The Eden Project
The Eden Project is one of the largest greenhouse complexes in the UK, built to further the understanding of flora and fauna. It serves as a hub for scientists and people alike to learn more about the connections that bind every living thing in the world. And unsurprisingly, it is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Cornwall in winter.
Giant glass biomes with honeycomb-like patterns occupy much of the Eden Project, housing several hundreds of plant species to admire. The project is dedicated to encouraging sustainability, as well as promoting a love for all things natural. With special events organised throughout the year, you’ll find plenty to learn and enjoy about the Eden Project.
You can find the Eden Project near St. Austell, providing kids all the joys of an adventure playground as well as satiating horticulturists’ curiosity.
B. The Lost Gardens Of Heligan
Nowhere is the Cornish climate more enjoyable than in the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Just 30 years ago, the gardens were rejuvenated after having been lost to time since the first World War. By the late 1990s, the Lost Gardens became one of the largest garden restoration projects in all of Europe. The estate now showcases exceptional beauty, positioning itself as one of the finest gardens in England.
Find a massive collection of Camellias and Rhododendrons that have been prevalent in Heligan for as long as a hundred years. Moreover, you can learn about the history of horticulture in Heligan, dating to the 1200s. This lengthy timeline is filled to the brim with interesting facts and trivia about both the estate and the county.
The award-winning project is one of the best experiences you can have in the UK, and you can make excellent use of your time here. Utilising the subtropical Cornish weather to its benefit, you can partake in many events organised in the gardens of both the physical and relaxing varieties.
4. Visit Cornish Towns And Villages
Thanks to the abundance of beaches in Cornwall, there are plenty of coastal towns and villages to visit. There’s always a gorgeous array of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants to enjoy, no matter which corner of the county you find yourself in. But if you don’t mind the sea breeze in the winter, you can always find room along the pretty harbours next to the glistening waters.
You can visit Cornish towns and villages during Christmas if you’re curious about local cultures and traditions. The celebrations last quite a while, starting from a few days before Christmas all the way to the quiet and sombre New Year’s. You’ll have plenty of time to soak in the Cornish ways, even on the chilliest of days.
Mousehole is something akin to a dedicated tourist town, with 70% of its houses being holiday rentals. It’s a small picturesque fishing village next to Penzance, with a tiny harbour mouth and a picturesque town structure when viewed from afar. The narrow streets and old-fashioned houses give this village a cosy and quaint feel.
Much like most of Cornwall, there is history associated with Mousehole that makes it a significant landmark during your travels. Once home to the Cornish fishing trade, the village had boats and ships coming in and out of its harbour constantly. But, as time went on, nothing remained stable or the same for a long time. The village has seen plenty of tragedies that have fortunately come to an end in modern times.
Visit the village during Christmas to see its Christmas lights in all of its glory. It’s become something of a local tradition that only increases in scope with better lights and displays. The shops, pubs and art galleries are decorated with Christmas-themed decor, colourful flowers and bouquets.
B. Port Isaac
If you can’t get enough of a seaside town or a fishing village, Port Isaac is a small town just for you. Located in a neat corner of the county, the Port is lined with historic buildings, unrivalled scenic beauty and quaint-feeling cobblestone roads. Port Isaac has been the location for many movies, so you can also retrace the path tread by your favourite actors.
Just a little ways away is Port Gaverne for a plethora of adventurous activities in the open waters. Seek a thrilling ride in a kayak, a Christmas day swim in the open waters and take part in plenty more, such as SUP and coasteering. Find your desired flavour of adrenalin, after which you can return to Port Isaac for a relaxing afternoon.
5. Go Pub-Crawling
The number of cocktail bars and pubs in Cornwall is in the hundreds, found scattered in towns and fishing villages. It’s only natural that you seek a drink in the winter chill of Cornwall, and you’ll not be starved for choice. And if you have a specific taste in pubs, chances are, you’ll find your niche.
Cosy beer gardens with a stellar view, open log fires on the beach and walking on the sand with your feet bare: you’ll find it all. Accompanied with nice grub to snack on and you’ll have the pub-crawling experience of a lifetime.
A. Falmouth Nightlife
When visiting Cornish pubs, you’ll not want to miss the nightlife of Falmouth. The streets are filled with students bringing a unique feel that is often not seen in other towns. And the bars are equally as bustling with plenty of events to join in on, with a selection of mouth-watering drinks you’ll want to sample.
During Christmas, the town grows relatively quieter as people remain in their homes, but that is only true as long as the festive season remains. You’ll still have plenty of activities to participate in, and your vacationing experience will only be enhanced by the Falmouth nightlife.
B. Secret Garden
You’ll find drinks of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties and an extensive menu to sate your appetite, all in the Secret Garden of Newquay. Find a sea view on its open-air terrace with outdoor seating that only gets better as the night goes on. And inside, enjoy a beer garden with a spectacular green living wall and themed decorations every week.
Kids, too, won’t feel left out at Secret Garden, which has a menu that caters to all ages. Be it artisan pizza or carefully crafted non-alcoholic cocktails, the establishment will see your jaw hanging as you sample their produce. It’s a comfy place for everyone to enjoy, offering you a complete nightlife experience that is rarely matched by other establishments.
Secret Garden is all about enjoying your Cornish vacation with your loved ones, and visiting it during the winter days can make it all the more enjoyable.
6. Other Attractions To Visit During Cornish Winter
That is only a fraction of the fabulous things you can do in Cornwall in winter. The English county is huge and jam-packed with places to explore and events to participate in. Whether you’re yearning to learn more about Cornish history or wish to spend an evening partying your heart out, you’ll find it all in Cornwall in winter.
Here are a couple of choice attractions you can visit in addition to the activities listed above:
A. Land’s End
One of the most sought-after places in Cornwall, Land’s End is a coveted landmark known for its mesmerising scenery and unique location. Clear out a day from your schedule when you visit this landmark, as you won’t want to miss the local attractions!
B. Jubilee Pool
A heated pool during the winter days is nothing short of bliss, and you’ll find it at Jubilee Pool. It’s a one-of-a-kind Art Deco lido, and though it’s limited to shallow areas only until spring, you’ll have plenty of room to swim around in. There’s a poolside cafe for you to relax afterwards as well, allowing you to bask in the comforting heat by the pool.
When planning your vacation in Cornwall in winter, you’ll want to look up if the tourist attractions are taking visitors or not. Nothing sours a holiday mood faster than your choice destination turns out to be closed when you reach it.
The English county has no shortage of surprises for you to explore, even with winter storms. You’ll find a vacationing flavour scarcely found elsewhere, something that will demand all of your attention. So, make sure you don’t rush through your Cornish vacation!
That concludes our list of what you can do in Cornish winters. No matter your preferred way of travelling, you may do so to your heart’s content in Cornwall in winter. Happy travels!
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